Citrus Bacterial Canker (CBC) is a major, highly contagious disease of citrus plants present in many countries in Asia, Africa and America, but not in the Mediterranean area. There are three types of Citrus Bacterial Canker, named A, B, and C that have different genotypes and posses variation in host range within citrus species. The causative agent for type A CBC is Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri, while Xanthomonas fuscans subsp. aurantifolii, strain B causes type B CBC and Xanthomonas fuscans subsp. aurantifolii strain C causes CBC type C. The early and accurate identification of those bacteria is essential for the protection of the citrus industry. Detection methods based on bacterial isolation, antibodies or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) have been developed previously; however, these approaches may be time consuming, laborious and, in the case of PCR, it requires expensive laboratory equipment. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), which is a novel isothermal DNA amplification technique, is sensitive, specific, fast and requires no specialized laboratory equipment.
A loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay for the diagnosis of Citrus Bacterial Canker (CBC-LAMP) was developed and evaluated. DNA samples were obtained from infected plants or cultured bacteria. A typical ladder-like pattern on gel electrophoresis was observed in all positive samples in contrast to the negative controls. In addition, amplification products were detected by visual inspection using SYBRGreen and using a lateral flow dipstick, eliminating the need for gel electrophoresis. The sensitivity and specificity of the assay were evaluated in different conditions and using several sample sources which included purified DNA, bacterium culture and infected plant tissue. The sensitivity of the CBC-LAMP was 10 fg of pure Xcc DNA, 5 CFU in culture samples and 18 CFU in samples of infected plant tissue. No cross reaction was observed with DNA of other phytopathogenic bacteria. The assay was capable of detecting CBC-causing strains from several geographical origins and pathotypes.
The CBC-LAMP technique is a simple, fast, sensitive and specific method for the diagnosis of Citrus Bacterial Canker. This method can be useful in the phytosanitary programs of the citrus industry worldwide.